NPR’s Andy Carvin recalls how it was that NPR came to Facebook

I’d also like to tell a quick story. In late 2007, we began debating the possibility of having a presence on Facebook, but we couldn’t make up our minds. Would it be an editorial platform or a PR one? Who would own it? Etc, etc. Then one day in January 2008 I got a tweet from a colleague at PBS NewsHour congratulating us for our new Facebook page — and I had no idea what she was talking about. It turns out a student in the UK had created the page, using official “About Us” information from our website. It’d been around for less than a week but already had more than 5,000 fans.

 Not surprisingly, this led to a new conversation at NPR — what should we do about the page and this guy. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed, and they let me simply introduce myself to him and say hello. I soon learned what had happened.

The prior month, he had contacted NPR through the “Contact Us” link on our website, encouraging us to create a Facebook page, given how many NPR fans were there. He also volunteered to do it, noting that we’re a nonprofit and might not have the resources to do it ourselves. He waited two weeks for a reply and then got a form letter from us, thanking him for his support. So he took that as a yes and created the page — and assumed that I was merely following up with him. With that, he made me administrator of the page.

 There are two lessons to take away from this. First, it’s not worth wasting time arguing over whether or not you’ll lose control of your brand when you start using social networks, because you never had control in the first place.

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